Actually, I've put "just" eight hours and 40 minutes into the Legend of Legacy demo thus far, but it's easier to say "almost nine" in a blog headline so that's what I went with here.
With that out of the way, some of you probably are wondering how on earth I could spend nearly nine hours playing this upcoming 3DS game's downloadable teaser. That's surprisingly easy to explain, actually. In fact, here are six reasons that just popped into my head:
It allows you to play as a frog--OK, so anyone who's at all paid attention to The Legend of Legacy's development or release probably knows that one of the game's potential party members is a frog. Unsurprisingly, he's been my "main" for the entire eight-plus hours I've spent with this demo since I nabbed it from the 3DS eShop a couple of weeks ago. (If you're wondering who my second-favorite character is at the moment, that would be the saucy Eloise.)
It features some deliciously "old school" RPG fights--I know a lot of gamers have moved on from turn-based battles, but I still love them. Not only that, but I still prefer them to the kind of MMO-esque battles that are at the heart of so many modern RPGs (like Fantasy Life and Xenoblade Chronicles). Anyway, if you, too, are a fan of turned-based battles, you should get a kick out of that particular component of The Legend of Legacy.
Its battle scenes also call to mind SaGa Frontier--Kind of. Like the ones that serve as the centerpiece of that PlayStation classic, this current 3DS offering's fight scenes are far more thrilling that your run-of-the-mill ones thanks to the random bursts of light that signify one of your party members has learned a new move. Sadly, The Legend of Legacy's battles aren't as kaleidoscopically complex as those in SaGa Frontier. Specifically, the former don't allow you to produce the eye-popping combos that help make the latter such a joy to experience.
Its soundtrack is the definition of sublime--Considering how many game soundtracks he's worked on over the years, it's a crying shame that this is the first time I've heard any of Masashi Hamauzu's music. The stuff he created for The Legend of Legacy is so lovely, though, that there's no doubt in my mind I'll keep an ear out for additional examples of his work in the following months and years. Thankfully, I can turn to a few games already in my collection if I want to accomplish that quickly and easily, as it appears he had a hand in Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon (PlayStation), SaGa Frontier 2 (PlayStation), Unlimited SaGa (PS2) and Sigma Harmonics (DS)--all of which I've owned for some time now.
It's shockingly light on story--In fact, I'm not even sure I'd say The Legend of Legacy's demo includes a story. Sure, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cut scene kicks things off, but after that the focus is squarely on making maps and battling baddies. Which is fine with me, as I happen to be one of those crotchety "old" gamers who believe today's RPGs are far too wordy. Mind you, I won't mind at all if a smidgen more of a story pops up in the full retail release of this Atlus-published title, but I also won't mind if that aspect stays as lean and mean as it is in this bite-sized version.
It's obtuse as all get-out--OK, so I'm not sure I should point to this as a positive. That said, there's something kind of cool about playing an RPG that treats you like you have a brain, don't you think? Or maybe I should say it treats you like you're smart enough to track down an online FAQ or to ask your Twitter followers for helpful advice. I also like that there's an air of the first Dragon Quest to this demo. It plops you into The Legend of Legacy's diminutive world and says "figure it out" before hightailing it out of there like it's late for a dinner date.
Have any of you played The Legend of Legacy demo? If so, what did you think of it? Did it leave you feeling desperate for the game's full retail release (due out next week in North America), or did it leave you feeling kind of cold? However you may feel about this 3DS teaser, let me know about it in the comments section below.
See also: 'While we wait for me to get off my lazy butt and begin to play The Legend of Legacy, let's drool over its lovely packaging'